The Emotional Affair is the only book on the market for couples seeking to cope with and recover from one partner's emotional affair. Although emotional affairs often do not include physical intimacy, they can take away from the relationship by encouraging one partner to get his or her emotional needs met elsewhere, and by bringing secrecy and deception into the relationship, which damages trust just as surely as if the partner had slept with the other person.
Emotional affairs share three characteristics:
Emotional intimacy. Transgressors share more of their inner self, frustrations and triumphs than with their spouses. They are on a slippery slope when they begin sharing the dissatisfaction with their marriage with a co-worker.
Secrecy and deception. They neglect to say, We meet every morning for coffee. Once the lying starts, the intimacy shifts farther away from the marriage.
Sexual chemistry. Even though the two may not act on the chemistry, there is at least an unacknowledged sexual attraction.
Often, people whose partners have emotional affairs either don't feel like they have a right to put an end to it (after all, the other person is just a friend and not a lover), or they have to contend with the cheating person's evasions and justifications (we work together, we're not having an affair), and accusations that the jealousy or insecurity is not justified. It can be difficult to think of an emotional affair as a problem, even if it's causing the partner worry, jealousy, insecurity, and the loss of emotional connection to the cheating partner.
This book helps the reader explore whether or not the partner is having an emotional affair and then offers steps to discovering the roots of the problem, making changes in the relationship, discussing the issue with the cheating partner, and recovering from the breach of trust and intimacy caused by the affair.
Ronald T. Potter-Efron, MSW, PhD, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Eau Claire, WI, who specializes in anger management, mental health counseling, and the treatment of addictions. He is the author of Angry All the Time and... Read more
Patricia S. Potter-Efron, MS, is a clinical psychotherapist at First Things First Counseling Center in Eau Claire, WI. She is coauthor of Letting Go of Shame and The Secret Message of Shame, as well as several professional books on anger and shame.